Ohio State, Arizona State team up on wireless technology to bolster national security
With $10 million of U.S. Department of Defense funding, researchers from Arizona State University and The Ohio State University will establish a Center of Excellence in Future Generation Wireless Technology (FutureG).
FutureG networks, such as 6G and beyond, are designed to seamlessly incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning into integrated sensing, communication and computation. They are distinct from existing networks like 5G due to various advances, including global coverage, faster data rates, improved reliability and security, high-precision positioning and energy efficiency.
Ohio State Engineering Professor Ness Shroff is a co-principal investigator leading development of scalable AI-based approaches for network control that operate at multiple-time scales depending on the needs of the tactical environment.
“The overall mission is to enhance the U.S. military’s technological advantage,” explained Shroff. “Specifically, this means FutureG networks that can rapidly adapt to conditions in the tactical theater in order to support extreme low-latency and high-bandwidth secure communications needed for combat operations.”
Led by Arizona State Electrical Engineering Professor Yanchao Zhang, the Center of Excellence team will address a wide spectrum of network challenges and opportunities, including signal processing technologies, distributed control and machine learning algorithms, and innovative security mechanisms. Over the next five years, researchers also aim to develop energy-efficient system-on-a-chip technology and pioneer augmented and virtual reality applications in the FutureG realm.
Shroff’s focus will be on ensuring the developed solutions have low computational complexity so that they can be deployed on edge-devices in the military environment and can function well with limited data. He will leverage some of his recent breakthroughs in safe AI to deal with the instantaneous constraints of tactical scenarios and develop multi-agent distributed solutions that allow for human-like learning adaptability. Shroff also plans to work with colleagues at the U.S. Army DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory to facilitate successful translation to real-world systems.
An Ohio eminent scholar of computer science and engineering, Shroff also directs a $20 million National AI Institute at Ohio State, AI-EDGE (Artificial Intelligence Institute for Edge Networks and Distributed Intelligence), which develops artificial intelligence and computer networking tools to help break new ground in “edge” technology.
“Each technical thrust within the center is guided by an eminent expert with a remarkable track record in their respective area of specialization,” said Zhang. “Our diverse range of complementary expertise empowers us to collaboratively address the challenges presented by FutureG networks.”
The Arizona State-Ohio State collaboration is one of four new research centers of excellence (COEs) at minority-serving institutions of higher education, as part of DoD's Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions Research and Education Program. Arizona State was named a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2022.
Selected through a merit-based competition, each center will conduct research over a five-year period in technology areas critical to the Department's drive for Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control: advanced computing and software; future-generation wireless technology; integrated sensing and cyber; and renewable energy generation and storage.
The awards total $40 million and will enhance research programs and capabilities in critical scientific and engineering disciplines, while expanding HBCU's and MSI's capacity to participate in DoD research programs and activities. These awards will also increase the number of graduates in STEM fields, including those from underrepresented minorities, which is critically important to DoD’s mission.
"These COEs will boost the Department's ability to conduct transformative research in areas that are vital to safeguarding national security,” said DoD HBCU/MI Program and Outreach Director Evelyn Kent. “We look forward to them contributing stimulating ideas and innovations that could lead to the development of novel technologies and methodologies.”